"Love Where You Live" is more than words on a piece of paper. It is a commitment to a community, where roots are built, families are born, friendships are fostered and above all a desire to make our community better for our loved ones and our neighbors - no matter our walk of life.
Gifts to the Love Where You Live funds fuel our work in removing barriers that prevent people from reaching full potential. We are extremely grateful for these gifts. Below are stories from several nonprofit partners who received a grant this past year from our Love Where You Live funds and made an impact in our community.
All of our nonprofit partners' work are great examples demonstrating why your gift is important to this community. Your gift is part of a larger masterpiece, in this case a permanent endowment that will benefit Kalamazoo County forever.
Philanthropic resources to continue addressing the greatest needs in our community are needed now more than ever to build an equitable community where every person can reach full potential.
Give to one of our Love Where You Live funds today by sending a check to KZCF noting your preference of which Love Where You Live fund or click here to give online. This year when you give a gift, your name will be included as part of a Love Where You Live art installation at the Kalamazoo Community Foundation in 2019.
Thank you for your consideration,
Love Where You Live (Greatest Needs) Fund
Community Promise Federal Credit Union (CPFCU) understands financial stability impacts various life trajectories including employment, purchasing a car or home, and building credit. CPFCU provides financial services to low-income residents who are vulnerable to predatory services and often denied support from mainstream financial institutions. Clients learn budgeting and planning skills, creating equity for those most in need of financial services but have limited access to counsel and support.
The Kalamazoo Covenant Academy (KCA) addresses what approximately 4,800 students age 16-22 in Kalamazoo County experience -- dropping out or being forced out of school. KCA provides these students with an opportunity to earn a high school diploma, improve life skills and continue to higher education, post-secondary training or the workplace. Flexible enrollment options, a self-paced learning environment and compassionate staff help breakdown barriers to success for general and special education students.
A stable, affordable home is necessary for a healthy, productive life. Open Doors provides affordable homes and personal support to low-wage individuals and families who have been shut out of the housing market. Affordable rent rates for individuals earning a full-time minimum-wage salary help those who lost homes or cannot afford market rate rent. Support includes resume writing, preparing for interviews, participating in job skills training and managing relationships.
Individuals & Families Fund
Life Guides, a program by Goodwill Industries of Southwestern Michigan, understands every member of our community should have equitable access to a better future. Their work strives to disrupt intergenerational poverty by providing a 20-year commitment to families, pointing them in the direction of their individual goals. Goodwill provides services and programs in the areas of employment, financial wellness, adult education and resource navigation to help low-income families reach greater self-sufficiency and prosperity.
Youth Development Fund
The City of Kalamazoo Parks and Recreation Department opened the Supervised Rec program to help children in historically underserved neighborhoods access safe, structured summer programs. The program creates opportunities for these children to socialize and participate in sports, arts & crafts and field trips at no cost to parents or guardians, who may have difficulty covering the cost of child care. The program hopes to grow and serve more children.
Education & Learning Fund
The Kalamazoo Literacy Council (KLC) understands reading is a critical life skill. Its work focuses on increasing literacy rates for adults in Kalamazoo County by reaching a wide range of marginalized residents in the community. KLC supports learners with earning a GED, entering community college or entering the workforce. This has a direct impact on families as literate parents are able to better foster literacy with their children and support their academic progress.
Economic & Community Services Fund
Kalamazoo Neighborhood Housing Services works with residents in vulnerable neighborhoods who likely would not qualify for a loan from a standard financial institution. By offering financial education, homeownership prep, and foreclosure prevention services, KNHS helps disrupt exploitation of low-income households and their inability to build financial assets, often due to exclusion from wealth-building opportunities. With the support of KNHS, clients develop stable household plans and budgets to increase credit scores and savings.
Community Homeworks wants to prevent households from sacrificing healthy, safe living conditions in order to meet other survival priorities. Services provided by Community Homeworks, including critical home repair, weatherization, energy efficiency updates and home maintenance, improve short- and long-term quality of life for low-income individuals and families. Improved conditions support health and safety as well as create cost savings for families that allow for reallocation of limited budget dollars to other pressing needs.
Oshtemo Township restoration of Drake Farmstead Park will create a place for all people to connect with and learn about nature and history. Interpretive signage installations will educate residents on the history and culture of the Potawatomi people, who spent summers on the Grand Prairie. The park, an easily accessible area with a high population of residents who are underserved with park space, will be restored with mowed paths, wild flowers and grasses.
To create a more inclusive environment within the healthcare field, the WMU Homer Stryker School of Medicine (WMed) is working to instruct medical professionals in the knowledge, skills, and competency necessary to provide direct medical care to the LGBTQ community, with a particular focus on the transgender community. This curriculum helps local medical professionals better meet the needs of this population and reduce health disparities in health outcomes among LGBTQ patients.